Scott and I plan to meet at Mambo Italia. He arrives late, and in a panic.
“I’m so sorry! I really am. I had a class that ended late.”
I smile in confusion. “What class?”
He tells me he teaches a group of children how to play the violin. He likes it. “Kids are the most beautiful thing. They are honest in their feedback. When they love something, they love it. And if they don’t, they simply don’t,” he explains, before apologizing again.
As we settle in for the interview, the waitress arrives with a menu. Scott, who plays jazz at the same venue on Friday evenings, recommends either their tuna pizza or lasagne. Both are fantastic, he says. I tell him a tuna pizza sounds very strange. He laughs heartily.
The tall waitress smiles and asks for drink requests. I suggest water to begin with, Scott declines. “You have to get something proper. Maybe a lemonade; with sparkling water in it.”
I smile. A lemonade it is – with sparkling water.
Scott Mwangi, I quickly learn, is like that. He’s appreciative of time, extremely disappointed when he doesn’t keep it, wittingly discerning of what he wants and what he doesn’t, and is very well cultured. It’s all very refreshing to witness and discover. He also doesn’t try too hard. He has a quiet yet distinct je ne sais quoi about him.
Scott, who has been dubbed “Scott The Violinist,” has been playing the violin for years now. He thoroughly enjoys everything that comes with it. The music, the bands, and most importantly, the variety in the audiences.
He has performed at extremely notable functions, including Forbes’ Person of the Year 2016 gala. Scott also performs at Galileo’s in Westlands on Wednesdays during the Country Music Night.
His musical genius, however, doesn’t come as much of a surprise as his is a family of musicians – the equally renowned Dj Protégé is Scott’s brother and his father is a music veteran too.
Scott (who I once watched play Bagatelle’s Second Violin to a thunderous standing ovation) openly talked to me about his musical journey, life’s joys and hiccups, and the lessons he’s learnt along the way:
How is it working with bands?
It’s exciting. Different people bring in different skills and we make good music. It’s enjoyable.
Does it get tiring, repeating some songs weekly for certain crowds at certain places?
It can, but the motivation almost always comes from the audiences. When they get excited over a song, and you see how happy you make them, it’s encouraging. We also don’t always play the same songs every week. It needs to be a bit exciting.
What have some of your greatest highlights been this year?
Performing for Forbes’ Person of the Year. That was incredible. It was a major highlight. So was performing at the president’s son’s ruracio, I hadn’t fully grasped the gravity of the occasion. But it was nice, bonding with them on a personal level, making the family happy on such a special day.
How hard or easy was it when you were first starting out?